What Is James Madison Famous For?

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James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, is famous for writing the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution. He also co-authored the Federalist Papers and sponsored the Bill of Rights. With the help of President Thomas Jefferson, he formed the Democrat-Republican party.

At the Constitution Convention in Virginia, Madison spoke about a three-part federal government, consisting of executive, legislative and judicial branches. Each branch would check the other and prevent the abuse of power. Madison was president for two terms. After leaving office, he opened the University of Virginia in 1825, with the help of Thomas Jefferson. When Jefferson died, he took over the leadership of the University. He was also the president of the American Colonization Society, which sent free slaves back to Africa.

Madison suggested amendments to the Bill of Rights in June 1789. The amendments included freedom of speech, protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and a speedy and public trial for Americans facing charges. His proposal was adopted in Sept. 1789. The U.S. declared war against Britain during Madison's presidency. He had the support of his party but faced opposition from the Federalists. The signing of the Treaty of Ghent marked the end of the war.